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Observations from Planet Earth, The Early Evening Edition: Week 7

Douglas C. Pizac-US PRESSWIRE

Today was the perfect day to watch football for a good chunk of the country but I know many of you actually have to do something else on Saturday. That’s why we’ve got your breakdown of all the important happenings around college football from the early games to the afternoon contests. Let’s start in Ames where the Iowa State Cyclones tried to shock the college football world once again…

THE HOT LIST:

Early Games:

Kansas State WildcatsThis team still doens’t impress me because I don’t think they’ll do enough through the air to be a legit title contender but they grabbed a big win again on the road. Quarterback Collin Klein continued his power running and was actually quite effective throwing the ball on 3rd down including the game winning drive where he hit 3 big throws to extend the drive. The defense made a big interception in the red zone and Iowa State didn’t really threaten their last couple of drives.

Michigan State SpartansSparty might be the most disappointing team in the nation. This team was expected to be a contender for a Rose Bowl bid and now will be lucky to get to a New Year’s Day bowl game. Quarterback Andrew Maxwell struggled once again and despite another outstanding game from Le’Veon Bell it wasn’t enough. the defense got gashed by a very average running back in the Iowa Hawkeyes Mark Weisman. I know he’s been strong statistically but the Sparty D has at least 3 pros. You can’t let a guy with little speed get outside and finish runs. Adding insult to injury, Michigan State botched a field goal attempt late in the 1st half thanks to miscommunication. Oops.

Texas LonghornsGive the Oklahoma Sooners credit for the win clearly but Texas was just awful. Frankly I don’t know where their heads were IN A RIVALRY GAME. The Sooners weren’t taking shots deep or doing anything complicated. They threw a bunch of screens and the tackling issues from Texas showed up once again. Missed one-on-one tackles, arm tackles and guys running into each other made this game just a mess. Offensively you can’t ask quarterback David Ash to win you a game solely with his arm. Texas run game has been hit or miss all season but when your defense is so poor from the start I suppose it doesn’t really matter at that point.

Duke Blue Devils- Poor Duke. They are trying to make a bowl game for the first time since 1995 and today it looked like they were on their way after the 1st quarter but then a bad interception by Sean Renfree inside his own 20 near halftime turned it all around. It was all Virginia Tech Hokies in the 2nd half. Renfree was hurt briefly and when he came back in he had virtually no time to throw the football. The schedule isn’t easy down the stretch. Their best chance to get that six win may be the final week of the season.

Afternoon Games:

Notre Dame Fighting IrishWhat a game in South Bend! A near classic tilt that was real football. Enough of this Arena football esque, no defense action. This was a man’s game. Of course, it looked like Stanford Cardinal running back Stepfan Taylor did get in on 4th down but the refs didn’t think so and the Irish stay perfect. The defense was outstanding for the most part. They contained any huge rips from Taylor and pressured Nunes all day long. Stephon Tuitt may be the best defensive lineman in the country. When Everett Golson was concussed, Tommy Rees again came in as the closer. It worked today but Brian Kelly might not want to wait so long next time.

West Virginia MountaineersTalk about quitting when the going got tough. I didn’t buy the Mountaineers as a legit title contender because of their pitiful defense and it showed up again today. Texas Tech Red Raiders quarterback Seth Doege had all day to throw and he picked apart the West Virginia zone. This one was over early. Geno Smith may no longer be the Heisman favorite. He forced throws all day although the play calling left a lot to be desired. You can’t force the ball down field in 40 mph winds like we saw today in Lubbock. When West Virginia worked underneath they had relative success until they got buried on the scoreboard.

Miami Hurricanes- Can we now put that BS that the “U” is back to rest? Quarterback Stephen Morris was awful but frankly he never was good to start with. The North Carolina Tar Heels have a strong defense that forced him into mistakes all day long. He couldn’t feast on cupcakes any longer. The Canes run defense still can’t figure it out. Tar Heels running back Giovani Bernard ran for nearly 200 yards from a variety of formations. Miami is at least a year away and that’s ok. We don’t need to rush them back into the national spotlight just yet. After all, they are one of the youngest teams in the country.

Oregon State Beavers- When I saw the news that Beavers QB Sean Mannion was out indefinitely this week, I literally felt sick. Oregon State has been one of the best stories this season and they were really hitting a roll. Well apparently enter backup Cody Vaz and you’ve got no issues. He was outstanding all day long, picking apart a good BYU Cougars defense. The Beavers even got the running game going in the second half behind sophomore tailback Malcolm Agnew. Most everyone knows about the Oregon State defense, and they are outstanding, but if they keep hitting the big play they could be national title good. Yes, I said it. They have two tests left. At the Stanford on November 10th and then the Oregon Ducks at home November 24th. I can’t wait. This is my sleeper national title pick.

WRAP IT UP!:  We don’t have a ton of games on tonight but the LSU Tigers/South Carolina Gamecocks should be a dandy and if you want offensive fireworks check out the Texas A&M Aggies/Louisiana Tech Bulldogs game. College football is truly the best.